Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Running Towards Sunrise

Well, I did it.

Yesterday, my iPod shuffle came in. I wasn't even here when it arrived, I was down on Military at the coin op, doing the laundry. By the time I got back, Thomas had set up the little dock, loaded whatever needed loading, and everything was set and ready to go.

So I loaded the Couch to 5K podcast for Week 1 onto it. And some other music, while I was at it - I mean, the thing holds 250+ songs on it, I may as well get other uses out of it, right?

I turned it on, stuck the earbuds in my ears just to get an idea of what I'd be listening to. Warning: Initial Volume settings are LOUD.

It's mostly a techno sort of thing, which really isn't my style of music, but it's probably better for the time being than anything I'm more familiar with, because I do like to sing (badly, off key, and with terrible breath control) and I think singing and running are probably not a good mix. At least for a while.

The Plan was: get up in the morning when Thomas's alarm clock goes off. He's one of those massive snooze button slappers and between when his alarm STARTS going off at 6:30 and when he actually leaves for work at 8:15, there's a LOT of time for me to get in whatever workout I need so that someone's here with Darcy. (As a note, I want to apologize here to my sophomore and junior year roommate - and best friend - Carol, for putting her through two years of massive snooze alarm slapping. I have received my karmic comeuppance... in abundance.)

The Plan did not account for my mutant worrybrain, which proceeded to dream about running. And iPods. And Penn and Teller, for some odd reason. Anyway, just before Thomas's alarm went off for the first time (somewhere about 6:15 or so) my brain yelled at me. "OH MY GOD, IT'S 8am!" Which wouldn't possibly be enough time to do the run, and how could I miss my FIRST RUN!? I woke up with a start and squinted at my clock.

I punched my pillow and attempted to go back to sleep for 15 minutes, but my body wasn't having any of that nonsense. I had told it to make sure I got up this morning, and make sure I got up, it did. I should be grateful for this ability, but as it happens, my body tends to be anywhere between 15 and 40 minutes early. So... mildly grumpy.

I got up, brushed and braided my hair, and got dressed in my workout clothes. I threw my hoodie on over the top, slid my iPod through the front pocket and clipped it to the far side (on the theory that if I dropped my iPod, it would at least fall into the pocket and not onto the ground.) and started off.

It was BUTT COLD this morning. The current temperature is 38. There was frost on the cars. I did a five minute warm up walk around the back side of the apartment, then headed over to the path where I intended to do my run.

In a way, it was both easier than I feared and harder than I had hoped. I had pains in strange, unexpected places. I had expected my ankle to hurt. Or my feet. Or my knees. What I hadn't expected at all was that my lower back hurt. Not in the spine, which might have made sense, but in that little area right where my butt ends and my back starts. One of my not particularly couth friends calls that spot the beer-shelf... "you know baby's got back when you've got a place to set your beer..." And my thumbs hurt, but that was probably just the cold. The rest of my hands stayed warm (ish), but the worst of the cold air was streaming right over the thumb.

There was mist rolling off the waterway near the path. (They call it a waterway, but it's really not. This whole area is built on one giant swamp/watershed and any place there's a deep enough hole, there's water. To build highways and such, there are any number of these little glorified mudpuddles, man made, to hold all the water.) The effect, combined with a flock of Canadian geese who were just waking up for their morning scrounge, was oddly bucolic and rather pretty.

The Week One program consists of eight 60-second running intervals, separated by 90 seconds of brisk walking. The guy who narrates the podcast sounds eerily like my guild leader from Warcraft, which sort of amuses me. He says, as we're starting out, "Remember, you should be able to talk while running..." Yeah. Right.

Except that I did. On a couple of occasions, I responded to something that he said. Mostly along the lines of "Oh, Suuuuuuure." and "Ha! Fsck you!" That last one came out as a startled exclamation when we were mostly done with the intervals. We were on interval 6 and he says "You should be able to feel the affects of running now." Me: "Ya think?" "But you shouldn't be exhausted or out of breath." Me: "Fsck you, pal."

I did have some problems with my iPod. Or, more specifically, with the little earbuds. The right ear bud stayed in fine, but the left one fell out a couple times, and I had to run trying to screw it back in (so to speak...) That was awkward.

On the plus side, I saw almost no one while I was out. One of the things I've been mildly paranoid about is that someone will see me. I know that I don't exactly run. I more like lumber ungainfully in a given direction and that I'm still hugely fat and more bits of me bounce and jiggle than I really care to think about. I can't imagine that I look anything other than completely ridiculous. The only person I saw was an eight or nine year old girl headed out the front door on her way to the bus. She waved at me. I waved back. She smiled as big as the world.

The seventh interval was, actually, the hardest for me. As a further matter of fact, I didn't finish it. I counted when I dropped down to the walking pace again and I think I was only about 15 seconds short. I decided rather than trying to run the circuit as I'd originally planned (I didn't want to end up completely out of place at the end of the run and then have to walk back to the apartment - I was slightly worried about getting back so Thomas could leave for work on time... more on that later!) I'd turn around when I got to interval 4. I'll have to extra measure to be sure, but I don't think I ran more than 2 miles, which is about 2/3 of a 5K. Well, we'll work on distance and endurance later.

What this did mean is that while I was jogging BACK, I was running into the sunrise.

You know, cowboy movies often end with that vivid scene of a lone rider on his horse, the sun a blob of volcano-red in the distance, the mountains a beckoning call... symbolic.

I think running into the sunrise was even more so, for me. I couldn't see anything more than the brilliant yellow of the sun, reflected and refracted at me in a hundred thousand directions by the dewey grass, shimmering off the lake to my right, and the pavement under my feet. I ran those last sixty seconds towards the beginning of a new day.

I got home just in time to hear Thomas slap his alarm clock for the last time, roll out of bed, and go off to take his shower.


Erin said...

Sounds like it was a pretty successfull run. I've been considering doing the c25k thing but wanted to get to more of a place where I could run...but now that they have pod-casts...i might just have to give it a whirl.

Have an awesome day today!

Anonymous said...

Okay, you're awesome. :-)

I am a little weirded out though because (I know this sounds unbelievable) I dreamed about Penn and Teller last night too. (And I promise I don't, normally.) That is just a tiny bit odd. Some sort of odd cosmic flow or something...

I hate the iPod earbuds. You can buy replacement ones for about ten bucks that have little rubber cones that stay in WAY better. They don't hurt as much as the original ones either.

Sounds a bit like your sciatic nerve (the place in your back). I've had problems with mine since my first pregnancy. Yoga helps but sometimes it just flares up...stretching is good for it - you can google particular stretches that are great - and of course my good friend Ibuprofen.

What a beautiful end to your run! I can only imagine how gorgeous and uplifting (to sound a bit flaky) that must have been. Great way to start the day and very symbolic as it was your first run. The start of something new and beautiful! :-)

Congrats, I think you rocked the house.


Summer said...

Wow. This is such an inspiring entry. You almost made me want to run, too. (It probably helps that I watched NOVA's "Marathon Challenge" for the second time last night. Have you ever seen that episode? Really amazing.)

You can run, and you can write. Fantastic.

Manuela said...

Good for you for starting it even though it was cold. BRR! I didn't even know you could download a "voice"--I've been timing myself.

Funny because I have pain in the same place in my back, even after doing it for this many weeks. Now, my upper thighs hurt too.

Hopefully it goes away! Funny you should mention westerns and cowboys. That's kind of my blog for today :)

(PS I love Penn and Teller)

Chanda (aka Bea) said...

Kudos on starting to run, and on the new toy (iPod). I love my nano, and have it with me all the time. I did have to get better earphones though, the earbuds kept popping out.

FYI the new Red Hot Chili Peppers cd (Stadium Arcadium) is really great to work out to.

HappyBlogChick said...

Hooray for you for starting couch to 5k! You did it - go you!

I use these earphones and they work great:
(sorry about the long url)

I am so so so happy for you!

Cammy@TippyToeDiet said...

From a fellow lumberer, hats off to you for getting up and getting OUT THERE!

Love your shuffle! I have the silver one and it has been a godsend! I had to get different earbud (longer cord) to connect me to the recumbent bike at the gym. I like these earbuds a lot better, so I wear them even when I'm connected to my shuffle.

Hope your next run is smoother!

Hanlie said...

Wow, that's great! And I love the symbolic sunrise!

Thinking Thin said...

You are almost motivating me to try to start that couch to 5k...almost. Keep it up and maybe it will get me :)

World of Warcraft huh? What server? I am also an avid player...ok I am not an avid player. I am an addict. I have been playing now for 4 years and I have to admit (shhh, don't tell anyone) it is the main reason I haven't gotten to the gym in the past two weeks. I need new

Diana Swallow said...


I didn't even know they have C25K pod casts! I'm not quite ready for them but good to know they are there when I need them!